Why is ergonomics important?

Authors: John D. Surma and Collin G. Warren, Adams and Reese LLP

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) describes ergonomics as the science of matching working conditions to the abilities of the workers. Basically, it is the concept of making the working environment as safe and comfortable as possible by fitting the work area to the employee. A workplace with poor ergonomic conditions can lead to musculoskeletal disorders. Poor ergonomic conditions can result from workplaces that are repetitive, require heavy lifting or require awkward positions, to name a few. While ergonomics is not per se regulated by OSHA, it is important because ergonomics can lead to recordable injuries and illnesses. There is some indication that OSHA may begin citing employers under the General Duty Clause for issues related to ergonomics.